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5 Reasons to Skip a Nikon D780 Today

nikon d780

5 Reasons to Skip a Nikon D780 Today

Why should you skip the Nikon D780? No market is quite as contentious as digital photography. These are high-cost goods with wildly different capabilities. The Nikon D780, on the surface, appears to be one of the best in its class. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The D780 is a camera that can’t really make up its mind on what it wants to be. It does just fine with still photography, and the video recording is a touted feature. However, it doesn’t have the means to be a reliable video camera, thanks to a few glaring design issues. This review is going to take a look at the biggest reasons to skip a Nikon D780 at all costs.

What Is the Nikon D780?

The Nikon D780 is a single-lens reflex camera with a focus on still photography and video recording. While it can capture video at 4K resolution, it does have some issues with recording itself. There are some lovely things to keep in mind with the D780, like the 10-bit Log sampling to an external recording device.

That said, there are some glaring design flaws surrounding the D780 that make it difficult to recommend at any price point. At its core, the Nikon D780 is meant to combine the best aspects of a DSLR and mirrorless camera, but it hasn’t quite stuck the landing.

SpecsNikon D780
Effective Pixels24.5 megapixels
Sensor Size35.9 mm by 23.9 mm
Storage MediaSD, SDHC, SDXC
ISO Sensitivity100 to 51,200
Monitor Size3.2 inches
Video Resolution4K, 1080p
Lens MountNikon F Bayonet Mount
Camera TypeSingle-lens Reflex

Reasons to Skip a Nikon D780

Keep reading for an in-depth look at why you should skip the Nikon D780 and look at other cameras.

No Built-In Flash

best polaroid cameras
The D780 is curiously missing a flash on the camera itself.

One of the strongest reasons to skip the Nikon D780 relates to one of the most basic functions of photography. You don’t have the option of a built-in flash on the Nikon D780, which is a curious omission when looking at its overall price point.

Now, you can certainly purchase a flash module for your camera. However, when you consider the overall cost of the entire package, you might be better off just opting for a camera that has the same functionality with a flash attached.

No In-Body Stabilization

Stabilization is a crucial addition to a camera when it comes to video recording. Still photography doesn’t have the same sort of requirements you’ll find for video. As such, the lack of in-body stabilization seems a rather glaring design choice when considering Nikon touts the video recording capabilities of the D780.

The Nikon D780 has no in-body stabilization of any sort, meaning you’ll have to look for external means to get the same functionality. Now, there are certainly other cameras on the market that blend both worlds quite ably. They also are equipped for these tasks, with stabilization built into the body of the camera itself. This missing function isn’t enough to hamstring the D780, but taken as a whole, it might sway some decisions.

Shutter Shock with Longer Focal Lengths

If you’re new to photography, shutter shock might be an unknown term. Simply put, shutter shock occurs from the vibration of the mechanism operating at the beginning of an exposure. There are certainly ways to mitigate this, but this might not be a problem for most cameras. The Nikon D780 does have an issue with shutter shock, especially when operating at longer focal lengths.

You can certainly avoid this issue with some adjustments. However, if you’re looking to shoot at longer focal lengths, it is something you’ll have to keep in mind. Again, cameras from other manufacturers might not have this issue. The D780 isn’t the only one in the Nikon family of cameras to suffer from this issue, as users have also reported the D810 and D850 suffering from it.

The Default JPEG Noise Reduction Is Quite Aggressive

JPEGs are a lossy image format, meaning it uses things like noise reduction to improve image quality. There are a variety of ways to implement noise reduction while preserving the overall integrity and clarity of an image. You’ve surely seen early JPEGs floating around on the internet, and how noisy those images can be.

Nikon certainly has this in mind, and the noise reduction algorithm implemented on the D780 is one of the strongest seen. You typically won’t be shooting photos in lossy image formats, but you can ostensibly convert those images to JPEG on the device itself. You’ll find the image quality to be a bit lacking when doing so, however.

This might not be one of the strongest reasons to skip a Nikon D780. That said, if you’re doing image conversion on the device itself, you are going to have some very mixed results.

Auto-Focus Modes Appear Differently in View Finder and Live View

nikon d780
You’ll see greatly differing images between the viewfinder vs. live view monitor with the auto-focus feature.

Most modern cameras come with auto-focus modes. They’re a great way to get focused on your subject without having to adjust the lens on the fly. The Nikon D780 has a great auto-focus mode, which is definitely a selling point of the camera itself. However, you’ll find some noticeable differences when looking at how the auto-focus modes appear.

Simply put, the viewfinder and live view monitors have greatly differing results for auto-focus. It makes it much harder to get a clear picture of how you’re image is going to look. Now, it isn’t unusual to have some slight differences when going from the viewfinder to the live view monitor. However, this is a glaring discrepancy, and one you’re sure to notice right away when shooting.

Live Subject Tracking Isn’t Reliable

The final nit to pick comes down to the actual function of the camera itself. When you’re spending a fair amount on a digital camera, you’re going to have certain expectations. Some photographers use their cameras for action shots and recording videos. However, you might have some disappointment looking at the Nikon D780.

While you can certainly take some stunning photos with the Nikon D780, the live subject tracking isn’t the best. This will mean you’re having to track, adjust, and focus on the fly. If you’re a seasoned photographer, this might be a non-issue. However, for a beginner, this could lead to subpar photos that leave them frustrated with their new purchase.

Alternatives to the Nikon D780

Here are our three favorite alternatives to the Nikon D780.

Sony SLT-A99V

Excellent Media Control
Sony Alpha SLT-A99V Full-Frame SLR Digital Camera
$899.00
  • 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 3-inch LCD
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-25600
  • 19-point autofocus system
  • 1/250 seconds shutter speed
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Dual media slots for SD cards and Memory Stick media
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 05:06 am GMT

The Sony SLT-A99V is a compelling alternative to the likes of the Nikon D780. It does lack the 4K video resolution for recording, but it features a similar exposure range and identical resolution on images.

What makes the SLT-A99V stand out is the way it approaches media control. You’ve got a pair of memory card slots, meaning you can record far more video or photos as a whole. Shutter shock isn’t an issue with these cameras as well, meaning you’re going to spend less time adjusting and more time shooting.

Canon 6D MII

Superior Autofocus Features
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body
  • 26.2 MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • 45 points autofocus systyem
  • ISO 100-40000
  • 3-inch LCD touchscreen
  • 1/4000 seconds max shutter speed
  • Digital image stabilization
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Canon has been a brand synonymous with photography for decades, and the 6D Mark II isn’t going to disappoint. You have a better overall image resolution of 26.2 megapixels, meaning photos should theoretically be sharper on the whole compared to the Nikon D780.

The Canon family uses the Canon EF mount, meaning you’ve got plenty of options for additional lenses. The strongest feature of the 6D Mark II comes down to its auto-focus system. You’ve got 45 points of auto-focus across all modes. You also get 4K video recording, putting it on par with the Nikon D780 without some of the same drawbacks.

Canon EOS 90D

Sharper Images
Canon DSLR EOS 90D Camera Body
$1,199.00
  • 32.5MP CMOS (APS-C) sensor
  • 4K UHD 30P/ Full HD 120P video
  • 45 point autofocus system
  • Face detection feature
  • Digital image stabilization
  • 3-inch touchscreen LCD display
  • Continuous shooting at 10fps
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 05:16 am GMT

The Canon EOS 90D is a sharper camera than even the 6D Mark II. You’ve got 32.5 megapixels as the effective still resolution, placing it well ahead of both the 6D and the Nikon D780. The EOS 90D is just an overall stronger camera as a whole, perhaps owed to its more recent date of manufacture.

This is a wonderful camera when it comes down to it, with 14 bits of color depth and a strong CMOS sensor. Auto-focus modes are a bit different with face detection being the mode Canon promotes, but it does have a 45-point all cross-type AF system. If you don’t mind making a few adjustments, you’ve got a camera that should serve you well for years.

Closing Thoughts

The Nikon D780 is a great but flawed camera. At the time of its release, it was a strong contender, but the last three years have let other cameras eclipse it. If you can find a good deal on one, it might be worth snagging. However, if you’re paying close to retail pricing, you might want to look elsewhere.

Best Alternatives to the Nikon D780

1. Sony A99
2. Canon 6D MII
3. Canon 90D
  1. Sony Alpha SLT-A99V Full-Frame SLR Digital Camera
    $899.00
    • 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor
    • 3-inch LCD
    • 1080p HD video recording
    • ISO 100-25600
    • 19-point autofocus system
    • 1/250 seconds shutter speed
    • Optical image stabilization
    • Dual media slots for SD cards and Memory Stick media
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/11/2024 05:06 am GMT
  2. Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body
    • 26.2 MP full frame CMOS sensor
    • 45 points autofocus systyem
    • ISO 100-40000
    • 3-inch LCD touchscreen
    • 1/4000 seconds max shutter speed
    • Digital image stabilization
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

  3. Canon DSLR EOS 90D Camera Body
    $1,199.00
    • 32.5MP CMOS (APS-C) sensor
    • 4K UHD 30P/ Full HD 120P video
    • 45 point autofocus system
    • Face detection feature
    • Digital image stabilization
    • 3-inch touchscreen LCD display
    • Continuous shooting at 10fps
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/11/2024 05:16 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Nikon D780 a DSLR?

Yes, it is a digital single-lens reflex camera.

What's the highest resolution video the D780 can take?

The D780 can record videos in 4K resolution.

Does the D780 have a flash?

No, you’ll have to purchase one separately.

Is the D780 recommended for shooting video?

If you have a way to stabilize the camera, then sure. Users looking to just shoot with the camera itself should look elsewhere.

Does the D780 have dual storage slots?

No, it just has space for the one SD-class storage card.

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